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Original Article

SJEMed. 2021; 2(1): 77-84

Mitigation of patients with hematologicaldisorders during the COVID-19 pandemicthrough telemedicine: the physician’s perspectives

Abdulraheem Alshareef, Hawazen Balkhair, Arwa Abbas, Maha Rizq, Hani Alhashmi.


Background: Patients with hematological disorders are among the highly affected patient groups during the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate how physicians mitigated patients with hematological disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the impact of the lockdown on hematologists and their recommendations according to their current experience was also assessed.
Methods: This was a questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey conducted among 62 hematologists in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic from 6th to 29th June 2020.
Results: The most common method of contact between physicians and their patients was the use of actual and virtual clinics and WhatsApp (22.6%). In addition, the most common cases that contacted the physicians were those suffering from hematological malignancies (such as lymphoma and leukemia) (37.1%), followed by sickle cell anemia (17.7%). Interestingly, majority of patients had contacted their physicians for general concerns
(41.9%), followed by assurance purposes (35.5%). Furthermore, 53.2% of the physicians were satisfied with the experience of handling patients during curfew. Around 71% of the physicians thought that social media had a positive impact on communication with their patients, which was significantly correlated with male participants and those in the age group of 46-55 years (p-values 0.03 and 0.002, respectively).
Conclusion: Telemedicine is one of the most useful solutions utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it needs to be improved and should be used routinely as a part of the healthcare system in Saudi Arabia.

Key words: Hematologists, hematological disorders, COVID-19, telemedicine, Saudi Arabia

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